Elon Musk Bans Using Zoom among SpaceX Employees

Elon Musk, the founder of the world’s leading rocket manufacturing company SpaceX, has banned employees of the company from using the US-based video conferencing app., Zoom or Zoom Video Communications Inc. According to a memo seen by Reuters, Musk took the step days after US law enforcement made a similar warning about the risk involved in “significant privacy and security concerns” using the app.

SpaceX’s ban on Zoom

As seen by Reuters, an email dated March 28 has mentioned about SpaceX’s decision to put restrictions on using the video conferring app, in which Musk told employees that all access to Zoom had been disabled with immediate effect. Not a single representative from SpaceX, which has more than 6,000 employees, was available to respond to a request for comment.

SpaceX officials said in the message, “We understand that many of us were using this tool for conferences and meeting support… Please use email, text or phone as alternate means of communication.” The recent move on banning Zoom indicates that the business of aerospace manufacturing by SpaceX and its technology development was closely connected to national security matters.

Stephanie Schierholz, a spokeswoman for the US space agency, NASA, has said that the agency prohibited its employees from using Zoom for the same reason of privacy and security concerns. Moreover, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Boston office issued a warning on Monday telling users not to use Zoom since it received two reports of unidentified individuals invading school sessions through using Zoom, a phenomenon known as “zoombombing.”

A Surge in American Zoom Users

The use of Zoom and other digital communications have been sharply increased due to the government’s lockdown policy, which forced many Americans to stay home with an aim to contain the spread of coronavirus.

Explaining the risks involved in using the app, an investigative news site The Intercept on Tuesday reported that Zoom video was not end-to-end encrypted between meeting participants. The company said in a blog post, “We want to start by apologizing for the confusion we have caused by incorrectly suggesting that Zoom meetings were capable of using end-to-end encryption.”

The company added, “Zoom has always strived to use encryption to protect content in as many scenarios as possible, and in that spirit, and we used the term end-to-end encryption.”

Due to its nature of business as a defense contractor, SpaceX, the California-based company, was allowed to stay open its operation during the entire shutdown in California and Texas. Recently, the company has been developing and testing hub for its Starship rocket that could be used to get around to the moon and Mars and send national security satellites to space.

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